The Importance of Physics
Physics, the understanding of Natural Laws is a captivating lifetime pursuit to me but it is also important to the survival of Mankind. Today's Asteroid, Meteors is an emphatic exclamation point to my The Importance of Physics headline.
This posting was initially published on Sunday, March 04, 2007 and didn't refer to this Asteroid specifically. I was referring to another one that will be even more dangerous. I am republishing it to remind us why the censorship of my ideas is not a good idea.
There are questions about the the exact trajectory of an incoming doomsday asteroid but there is certainty a high degree of self-censorship with respect to information about that event.
Today, I read again about the 450 million tons asteroid that would cross Earth's path in 2026 at a distance closer than the Moon. It was written in the article that even that was not what the scientist were concerned about. There would be an even closer fly-by.
Well. I came to write this blog and came back to pick up the reference and link to the news. Google had already moved it around or eliminated it.
The case in point is that I have been hearing about this incoming asteroid since December and did not see any scientific discussion in the media about the validity of this information.
If a doomsday asteroid is coming, I would like to offer some fresh ideas on how to eliminate the problem. That will not happen if this theory is not properly evaluated. If theorists put their petty vanity ahead of the needs of Mankind.
I believe some classification of theories in a manner similar to the one that exists in Philica should be in place within the Los Alamos Arxives. One thing that should NOT exist is plain censorship.
Los Alamos Arxives is a taxpayer funded pre-print (eprint) repository, that is, it is the place for papers that were not necessarily sent to a journal or received a peer-review yet. Peers would provide a peer review and that is fair.
In the past, there was no censorship or obstacles to publishing. Eventually, the bar was raised and an endorser was required. I passed that obstacle just to receive an "Inappropriate" review. Nothing else than the word "Inappropriate" was said about the theory. There was no need for anything else. The one who "owns" the repository actively controls whatever is published there.
If a theory has evident flaws the author should be told and the paper should NOT be published. If that is not the case, the paper should be published (eprinted) and occupy some few bytes in some server some place. The incremental cost is zero. The resistance to new ideas by established scientific elites has been an obstacle to the progress of science since there were scientists or the Church.
Today, we have the means to publish our ideas despite these obstacles, but that doesn't provide the extremely important peer-review and peer-recognition. By recognition I don't mean recognition of the author of the idea, but recognition of the idea itself.
An idea stands by itself long after the author is gone, but it has to be recognized by the Intelligentsia and to become part of the idea soup that feed our progress...:)
What we cannot accept is to have physics theories censored willy-nilly by simple minded molecular biophysicists (the "owner" of Los Alamos Archives is coincidentally a Molecular Biophysicist of all things)...:)
I believe that Physics is Fun but it is also Serious. The consequences of censorship, the hipping of stupid ideas for sake of book selling, TV show deal...:) can be high and maybe way too high for us to pay.